Please Gadget Freak! Don’t make me open source everything.
Gadget Freak is a Design News program that features DIY projects by inventors and hackers from across the net. Sometimes the projects are very polished, sometimes they look pretty cobbled together. That’s the beauty of it.
My only complaint is submissions have to be full disclosure. The following is an email I sent Design News to open their open source policy up a bit.
To the Gadget Freak Editor,
I love your Gadget Freak column. It seems like a pretty unique thing on the net, which is saying a lot these days.
I like Gadget Freak because I can see what other DIYers are building. It inspires me to do better, and gets me excited about the efforts we experimenters are doing collectively. You can see some of my projects at techbloginator.wordpress.com.
I’d like to recommend you create another category of Gadget Freak submission that doesn’t require complete disclosure. I’d love to read about Gadgets even without being able to recreate them. I value and participate in the Open Source movement, but it doesn’t apply to everything. I’m sure people would still submit projects without the $500 reward if they could have it appear on your site for all to adore.
I’m creating a crazy keyboard, for example, using a 3D printer, some Atmel MCUs, and my own firmware. I’d love to submit it when it’s complete, but don’t want to provide source code or STL files for the CAD work and ideas I’ve generated. I may Open Source the idea someday, but want more control of how it’s delivered to the world than I could get by submitting it to Gadget Freak. The $500 bounty isn’t even close to tempting in exchange for complete disclosure at this point.
I remember a Gadget Freak write-up someone did on a portable keyboard. It looked like a hockey stick with some crunchy switches glued to it. The project wasn’t earth shattering, but it was still great to see someone else working on the same goals I’m passionate about. It’s great they had the courage to show off their work and that they were able to find a vehicle to do so.
Better projects will be more likely to generate interest and possibly even revenue as a viable product. You may get better material by not requiring authors to divulge so much to Gadget Freak.
I’ve already linked to designnews.com on my blog a number of times and will very likely do so again. I’m going to publish this email on my blog, too.
Check out my Brookstone Rover 2.0 Teardown article for fun if you have time: https://techbloginator.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/spytank-teardown.